10 Cover Letter Mistakes
Cover Letter Mistakes that are easy to avoid, you just need to know about them! It is important to be sure that your cover letter delivers the message that you want, free of mistakes and errors.
Common Cover Letter MistakesThis is the first opportunity you have to entice an employer to read your resume. Treat this document as your opening statement to promote yourself by expressing, in paragraph form, how you will be an asset to the organization.
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How to Fix These Problems
- Grammatical and Spelling Errors
The first issues that we will address are poor grammar and incorrect spelling. Nothing shows carelessness more than not taking the time to ensure that you have correctly spelled your words. Spell checkers are abundant, so there are no excuses for mistakes. Grammatical errors can be a little more difficult to uncover. If you are not proficient at writing composition, ask others to proofread it for you. Don't show a lack of concern by not correcting these problems before your potential employer sees it.
- No Cover Letter
Although it might seem obvious, some applicants fail to include a cover letter with their resume. Or, they will write something useless such as, “enclosed is my resume, please contact me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.” This is completely ineffective and does nothing for self-promotion. Our free creator program can get you started with templates that you can rewrite and modify. If you have been directed by the employer not to supply one, then skip it.
- To Whom It May Concern
Do your homework and find the name of the person to whom you are sending this. Don't simply write “Dear Sir or Madam,” or another generic, cookie cutter salutation. You don't want to appear to be lazy or unknowledgeable. Take the time to check the job posting or call the company to find the proper contact information. Read more about this and how to write a cover letter the right way.
- Include Action Verbs
Instead of writing in a usual and boring way, try to include action verbs to add some excitement and vitality to your accomplishments. A thesaurus is a valuable aid when replacing weak verbs for action verbs. A look at our list of action verbs will give you many options to use.
- Optimize With Keywords
When your letter is being read whether by a machine or a person you want the key features to stand out. One way to promote your accomplishments is to add keywords derived from the company's literature or the job description itself. You want to write so that your skills and achievements are on par with the needs of the company. Get more in-depth info about keyword optimization.
- Too Generic
Write to focus on each job. In other words, don't use the same letter for each job. Customize it to address the wants and needs of the employer, and the requirements of the particular job. You can employ keywords as described in point #5 above to customize your information to apply to each job.
- Important Points First
Use attention-grabbing language, so if the employer only reads the first sentence, they will want to read more. Make your statement so compelling that they want to read your entire resume to find out more. Write about how you can benefit their specific company. Use examples of your accomplishments to demonstrate your worth. Don't be vague, get to the facts, this is where you must start to sell yourself.
- Factual Errors
Exhibit your knowledge of the company, do some research. Please be sure that the information you write about is accurate. Establish your professionalism by making sure that it is apparent that you have researched what the company and all that entails. This is discussed more in our cover letter writing video.
- Is It the Right Length?
How long is this page supposed to be? It is normally one page, this is the next to the last of these ten cover letter mistakes and is one of the most subtle. We wrote an article about how to write a cover letter which discusses the various parts of the letter and what to write in each part.
If you are emailing this to someone, send it to the proper person, not just to a general department. Also, send it in the actual body of the email, not just as an attachment. It IS the email, not an attachment to it.